U.S. and Russian Presidents on Iranian Nuclear Issue

After their meeting in London, Russian and U.S. Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama declared that the both governments are committed to achieving a diplomatic settlement of the Iranian issue and appealed to Iran to regain the global community's confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. The Presidents also shared concerns about North Korea's intent to launch a satellite and appealed to Pyongyang to refrain from the launch.

The Presidents further negotiated a reduction in their countries' nuclear weapons below the levels stipulated in the 2002 agreement. They instructed the relevant working commissions to draft a new agreement on nuclear disarmament to replace the expiring treaty. Initial proposals on the issue are expected to be submitted to the Presidents by July of this year.

The amended document will stipulate that the parties reduce deployed nuclear warheads to below 1,700-2,200 units, the level that was agreed upon seven years ago in Moscow. The Parties hope to complete a new START document before the current treaty expires in December 2009.

On the eve of the meeting, President Obama declared that he considers the nuclear non-proliferation issue as a good starting point for repairing relations with Russia, which have cooled considerably in recent years. According to Obama, both the U.S. and Russia will benefit from a reduction in their reducing their nuclear arsenals.